I wrote last week about The Sharonline neighborhood on Youngstown’s East Side. The name Scienceville came up and piqued my curiosity as well. The Scienceville neighborhood is just west of the Sharonline neighborhood, defined by the neighborhoods on either side of McGuffey Road west of Liberty toward Lansdowne, and those along Liberty, that were originally part of Coitsville Township until it was annexed into Youngstown in 1928. In some sources I looked at Scienceville, The Sharonline and McGuffey Heights are lumped together, but I also found evidence of each being distinctive neighborhoods.
But what about that name? Originally, the area was called Science Hill. As early as 1840, there was a Science Hill schoolhouse. Supposedly the name reflected an interest in science of the residents. The name was changed because there was another location in Ohio named Science Hill. So it became Scienceville. In 1906, the first Scienceville High School was built on the west side of Liberty Road between Cornwall and Fairfax, replacing the schoolhouse. In 1922, the second Scienceville High School was built across the street, with the first becoming an elementary school.
In 1945, Scienceville High School became North High School. Students thought the name Scienceville was unrecognizable in other parts of town, and eventually persuaded the Board of Education to change the name to North High School (odd because it is located on the East Side). In 1956, a new North High School opened on Mariner Avenue with the old building becoming a middle school, named Science Hill Junior High.
North High School was closed after the 1979-1980 class. The building has since been razed and is now the site of Martin Luther King Elementary. The sites of the first and second high schools are now vacant land. East Middle School is located just to the northeast of the elementary on Bryn Mawr and feeds into East High School.
The neighborhood consists of older 3 to 4 bedroom homes built between 1940 and 1969 with along with apartments. According to Neighborhood Scout, the neighborhood has one of the highest percentages of those of African ancestry (7.8 percent) and Puerto Rican ancestry (9.2 percent) of any neighborhood in the country.
There was always a group of Scienceville alumni who thought it a mistake to change the name to North. I won’t weigh in on that one, but I do think it does seem unfortunate that none of the schools bear this name. Community identity is powerful in uniting a neighborhood, and the history of Science Hill and the schools that occupied the area around Liberty Road seems worth recapturing.
To read other posts in the Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown series, just click “On Youngstown.” Enjoy!